De Praestigiis Angelorum reviews
devletli on August 11th, 2016
This is a shining example of French black metal insanity. Standing somewhere between the fury of Antaeus and the demanding structures of Deathspell Omega, “De Praestigiis Angelorum” is a 45 minute soul drenching experience. The album is technically flawless and emotionally disturbing. At times you feel the protagonist to whom you root for during the entire movie receives a lengthy, excruciating torture, and you feel the pain, and at the end they die. Despite evoking mostly such negative emotions, the musical excellence also leaves the listener in an unavoidable feeling of awe.
VI includes (permanent and session) members of Antaeus and Aosoth, led by BST (Sébastien Tuvi), the mastermind of Aosoth, on bass & samples, Blastum on drums and INRVI on guitars & vocals. Once the listener gets past the distant tone of the production, which makes the album even more inaccessible, the complex and intriguing structure unravels. Upon the bass-laden structure, we have masterful yet insane drumming. On every gap between furious blast beats and / or double bass attacks, Blastrum showcases nice little touches and tricks while maintaining complete control, navigating the music through frequent shifts in mood and tempo. The guitars are so satisfying, utilising multi-tracks, insane riffing (in the vein of DsO) and variation set the atmosphere. Not so much to say about his singing that fits like a glove. No keyboards here, but sampling (not overdone) of usually eerie orthodox chanting and other horror effects strengthens the nightmarish atmosphere.
Quite exhaustive, even wearying. Each listen is sure to present many missed moments. Despite sounding complex or even chaotic, the songs themselves are quite coherent, with an evident direction and repetition of themes. With a chanting and unsettling intro and seven tracks of black metal beauty, the fourth one “Regarde tes cadavres car il ne te permettra pas qu'on les enterre” (much ctrl+v’ing here) in three motions is a stand out piece. The song opens normally, shifting tempo and whatnot, suddenly giving way to an unnerving horror interlude of samples and finally attacks all-on with a 2 minute blast beat filled frenzy.
Oh, by the way, just do not let the amazing cover art of the illustrious Alexander L. Brown go unnoticed. Seven angels with dark faces in a circle in front of a heptagonal form.
As again, thank you France.
(Originally published at: winterwhenyoufreeze)
ConorFynes on November 3rd, 2015
Total orthodox mastery.
Comparisons between De Praestigiis Angelorum and the output of latter-era Deathspell Omega are practically unavoidable. I wouldn't say VI are alone in that regard either; the current landscape for black metal has been significantly moulded by that shared willingness to merge the orthodox sphere's seriousness of intent with a biting sound equal parts punishing and progressive. Where VI distinguish themselves from others of their kind lies in their ability to make that sound their own. De Praestigiis Angelorum is violent, demented, arrogant, subtly melodic and often heartstopping. I'll be forward: VI's debut is hands-down a masterpiece of its style; crafted by members of Antaeus and Aosoth however, I don't think I'd have expected anything less.
The fact alone that a debut has managed to stand out this much in one of the best years for music in recent memory is astonishing. All the same, I think VI is pretty easily placed in context with what came before it. While the wide majority of black metal attempts to create some negative response in the listener, there are only a scarce few that manage to get a swelling longing for violence in me. The best example among that select few I could think of is Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan. Antaeus' debut did not reflect demons so much as bring them directly out of the listener.
Given VI's esteemed membership, it's not so surprising that some of that same rampant aggression is audible on De Praestigiis Angelorum. What makes this case so interesting, however, is the fact that VI have gotten that urgency across via relatively melodic means, far moreso than anything in the Antaeus catalogue, at least. Virtually every track on the album outside of its mandatory orthodox intro manages to temper its aggression with moments of clarity. I'd hesitate to liken VI to the current-day post-black metal scene as it might suggest the band are within leagues of being neutered-- listen to a single song and you'll know that's not the case, but the way this band fuel their craft with conventionally beautiful melodic writing continues to remind me of the work of some of their less malevolent contemporaries.Aosoth bassist INRVI is unrelenting with speed and busyness in his guitar duties with VI. De Praestigiis Angelorum is replete with his innately ugly (though deceptively polished) guitar tone and abundant Deathspell-isms, with rare intricacies in the riffwriting. The album is one of the finest golden ratios between polish and organic rawness I've actually ever heard in the genre; somehow VI reap the benefits both of a "modern" black metal production with the murky grit of a raw recording. Even if VI had fallen somewhere short of the magnificent songwriting on this album, the way they've realized their art is an exceptional feat of its own. At its most violent, De Praestigiis Angelorum sounds like a pack of well-bred aristocratic hounds, gnashing and howling for blood. The drums and guitars sound both sound equally manic; INRVI's vocals sound raw and forceful, but the production was wise to place them lower in the mix than would be normal. The strain in his voice is still apparent, but it gives all the more room for VI's instrumental talents to flourish, all the while adding a new shroud of mystery surrounding the specific means and intent of the band's lyrical devotions.De Praestigiis Angelorum is one of the strongest black metal albums I have heard in a long time, and it's not lightly that I say it actually holds par with Deathspell Omega's best material. To date, it's the only 2015 album I've heard that comes close to debating Amestigon's monumental Thier as the best record of the year. For its inventive drumwork, demented atmosphere and startling orchestral break, "Regarde tes cadavres car il ne te permettra pas qu'on les enterre" is one of the best songs I have ever heard from the orthodox sphere. Whether VI are doing something new or not is ultimately beside the point. As it currently stands, they're probably doing it better than anyone else.
powerblack on September 30th, 2015
VI – De Praestigiis Angelorum
VI is a black metal super group from France, featuring musicians from Aosoth, Merrimack and Antaeus. The band was formed back in 2007 and have released an EP and a split recording prior to their debut full length album ‘De Praestigiis Angelorum’. The scheduled release date was on September 25th, 2015 and the record came out via Agonia Records on both CD and 12” vinyl format.
If you are familiar with the French black metal scene, you probably know what to expect from VI. Indeed, ‘De Praestigiis Angelorum’ is replete with fast, ravaging black metal chaos with harsh, shattering guitar sound accompanied by relentless blasts and triggered bass sound. Musically, similarities can be found with Aosoth, Svartidaudi and such acts, but VI has blended their sound with sharp and dynamic guitar rhythms, some cleaner segments on torrid lead guitar background. The vocals are well done too, and perfectly balanced with the music. The album is strongly produced and the layout, artwork and overall representation of the package is captivating. In short, ‘De Praestigiis Angelorum’ is a genuine music art with exquisite details and imagery.
In contrast, there is very little I can say against this release. VI certainly took a considerable amount of time in composing and recording the opus ‘De Praestigiis Angelorum’. I would personally keep this album ahead of any Aosoth releases and certainly, as one of the top black metal releases of this year. If you are a fan of modern orthodox black metal, this album is a gem and you just can’t afford to miss this album. Strongly recommended.
Originally written for Venustas Diabolicus.